Author Gay Courter
We heard that a teenaged son of a business associate had tried to commit suicide. When we next saw him, I said, “You may not realize it, but there are lots of people who care about you. So next time you feel despondent, contact someone. And that someone could be us.”
We knew his home life was difficult and one day he drove over to our house at dinnertime. He joined us for the meal and lingered after our children had gone to bed. “Did you just drop by to chat, or are you moving in?” I asked. He went to the car and brought in his suitcase. I told him he was welcome to stay as long as he liked, but we had to inform his parents for safety reasons.
They were furious at him and more furious at us. (Our association was broken over this.) But we said we were keeping him and that was better than the alternative last time. We convinced them all to get counseling.
Eventually he returned home. He said he would pay us back, and we told him to pay it forward. Fifteen years later we received an email. “I paid you back,” he said.